February 22, 2008

Faithful Lines / Shirley Vogler Meister

Angels of God: guardians near and dear

Shirley Vogler MeisterSince childhood, I have frequently thought or said the Guardian Angel prayer. Most Catholics know it: “Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom His love commits me here, ever this day be at my side to light and guard, to rule and guide. Amen.”

Although I do not have an angel collection, I have received angel mementos that I proudly display, and angels are shown in large, framed replicas of well-known art masterpieces (one is the Annunciation, the other is the Nativity). I even have a metal angel, a gift from my daughter, which I hang from a lamp.

Recently, after the unexpected death of a next-door neighbor, her husband, Frank, came by to give me something that Charlene had previously asked her California sister to get for me and her granddaughter. It is “The Original Angel Star Worry Stone” with this message:

“Give your worries to the angels
“It is time to heal your heart.
“Every day’s a new beginning
“Where love and hope can start.
“Give your worries to the angels
“Release your doubt and fear
“Trust in God to always be there
“With angels always near.”

When I hold the “angel stone” in my hands, a warm, peaceful calm comes over me—as though Charlene is saying, “Don’t worry. I am fine.”

No, I am not superstitious. I simply believe strongly that God’s grace—whether through angels or saints or the beauty of nature or pets or even an angel stone—can be comforting.

Also comforting was knowing how well Frank and Charlene’s son, Drew, and his wife, Sally, and family—and their extended family who are members of Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Indianapolis—rallied to help everyone in such untimely sorrow.

As I go through Lent in times of prayer, I not only remember Charlene and her family, but also the widow of another neighbor, Marian. Her husband, Art, also died unexpectedly.

After services at the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, whose members are also wonderfully supportive to Marian, the pastor spoke with my husband and me.

I was surprised that he remembered a “shepherding” column I once wrote about Art and his dog, and that the pastor often reads The Criterion.

These are only a few of the serendipitous moments that I experienced before the beginning of Lent, and I treasure them.

As Christians, we practice penance and sacrifice for 40 days, but that doesn’t mean we must be doom-and-gloomers.

God brings beautiful blessings and joys for us to cherish even during Lent.

Although we are in the penitential mode, we can still give thanks for what is right and good despite fasting, abstinence or deep sorrow.

Next week, I will share more observations about angels, some from children.

Meanwhile, let’s count our blessings.

(Shirley Vogler Meister, a member of Christ the King Parish in Indianapolis, is a regular columnist for The Criterion.) †

Local site Links: